Photography by Derek Brad
T’was two nights before Christmas, and all through the City of Brotherly Love, music was a-brewing and anticipation, too! World Cafe Live was decorated with care, with hopes of bringing peace, love, and holiday cheer to the Philly music scene with nine amazing acts. Modern Colour, Rivers Monroe, Nicky P, Andorra, Deep City Healers, Sansom, John Gilbride, Tara Hendricks, and Post War Dream did just that and more by bringing pieces of their musical individuality to the music scene and to traditional Christmas songs.
Sansom kickstarted the night with an energetic and rollicking performance. Lead singer Jennifer Logue shined with enthusiasm and natural talent as she carried her duties as both hostess of the night and front woman very seriously. Great shout-out to drummer Demetrius who brought the great holidays vibes.
Transitioning smoothly into the next set, a cute duet between Tara Hendricks and Jennifer happened on Eartha Kitt’s “Santa Baby.” The duo had a great banter back and forth, and nice harmony. For a few more songs, members of Sansom joined Hendricks for the remainder of her set. Her singing was bright and energetic. During the cover of the Charles Brown’s “Please Come Home For Christmas,” Pat of Sansom showcased an incredible guitar solo.
Deep City Healers took our breath away with a cover of the classic “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” putting in their own relaxed vibe by starting with a flute and violin duet, and flute soloing during the song. DCH ended with a more traditional “Silent Night” with some great vocal harmonies and acoustics.
Almost like stepping into snow with no boots on, Andorra brought the crowd back with their raucous grunge-rock energy back into this event. Decked out in festive sweaters and hats, our Battle of the College Bands winner showed us their kitschy meaning of Christmas and even had a man dressed as Santa dancing alongside of their performance. They even competed in our Ugly Sweater Competition…it was a tight race!
Following that rollercoaster, Post War Dream gave us a different meaning with his deep, emotive velvety voice. Though his guitar cut out mid-song, he still carried on amidst the hiccup and his beautiful performance unchanged.
John Gilbride brought a great folksy vibe that gave the crowd goosebumps and the feels all at once. With just an acoustic guitar and his voice, it was the perfect combination. He even performed an original Christmas song and dedicated to one special lady in the audience. Swoon!
Likewise, Nicky P also showed us that sometimes all you need is an acoustic guitar and a voice. He brought his A-game with his sweet baritone and acoustic guitar skills, and blew us all away with a stripped-down “The First Noel.”
Laura Cheadle Family Band gave us a definite Blues Christmas, featuring the singer-songwriter on vocals, brother on guitar, and dad on keys! Off the back of Cheadle’s new Christmas album, it’s no wonder that Cheadle loves Christmas. She brought down the house with her powerful bluesy voice and…and even made a Santa jacket look chic. Can we get an amen?
Rivers Monroe stripped it all the way down (almost) for a great acoustic session that showed their multi-faceted talents. With just three members on stage, the boys gave a feels-y take on WHAM!’s “Last Christmas.”
Modern Colour brought it all home and around town as the closing set of the night, and seemed to be in competition with Andorra for loudest set of the night. The boys brought back all that fun-loving holiday energy and channeled it into a true rock performance. Each member not only played, but became the songs they showcased. I’m still shaking thinking about this amazing performance.